Butkus Award watch list features 51 LBs

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What? You thought preseason watch lists were over with? Nope, that would be what we call “the weekend.”

So the preseason watch list extravaganza rolls on today with the Butkus Award and Lombardi Trophy, the former being listed below. Among those on the 51-player list are Athur Brown (K-State), Jake Knott (Iowa State), Shane Skov (Stanford), Tom Wort (Oklahoma) and Max Bullough (Michigan State).

Additionally, Florida has four players on this year’s list, given to college football’s best linebacker.

Last year’s winner was Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly, who won every defensive postseason award*.

(*I’m exaggerating, but seriously though)

You can view all of the individual preseason watch lists in one handy repository HERE, and the entire Butkus Award watch list below.

Denicos Allen, Michigan State
Dion Bailey, USC
Steve Beauharnais, Rutgers
Chris Borland, Wisconsin
Jonathan Bostic, Florida
Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Jonathan Brown, Illinois
Max Bullough, Michigan State
Jamie Collins, Southern Miss
Ja’Gared Davis, SMU
Zaviar Gooden, Missouri
Jeremiah Greene, Nevada
Khaseem Greene, Rutgers
Alonzo Highsmith, Arkansas
Gerald Hodges, Penn State
DeVonte Holloman, South Carolina
Andrew Jackson, Western Kentucky
Jelani Jenkins, Florida
A.J. Johnson, Tennessee
Nico Johnson, Alabama
Christian Jones, Florida State
Jarvis Jones, Georgia
Uona Kaveinga, BYU
A.J. Klein, Iowa State
Jake Knott, Iowa State
Cameron Lawrence, Mississippi State
Travis Long, Washington State
John Lotulelei, Florida
Brandon Magee, Arizona State
Michael Mauti, Penn State
Lerentee McCray, Florida
Kevin Minter, LSU
Nick Moody, Florida State
Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
Sio Moore, Connecticut
James Morris, Iowa
C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Trent Murphy, Stanford
David Nwabuisi, Northwestern
Sean Porter, Texas A&M
Keith Pough, Howard
Kevin Reddick, North Carolina
Douglas Rippy, Colorado
Etienne Sabino, Ohio State
Shane Skov, Stanford
Kenny Tate, Maryland
Bruce Taylor, Virginia Tech
Manti Te’o, Notre Dame
Chase Thomas, Stanford
Cornelius Washington, Georgia
Tom Wort, Oklahoma

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

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Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

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Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

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It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

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The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.